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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Wild bird cover crops significantly increase farmland bird abundance of twenty-five recorded species

Published source details

Parish D.M.B. & Sotherton N.W. (2004) Game crops as summer habitat for farmland songbirds in Scotland. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 104, 429-438


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Plant wild bird seed or cover mixture Bird Conservation

A replicated, randomised, controlled study from June-September in 2001-02 of 21 cereal farms in eastern Scotland (Parish & Sotherton 2004) found that farmland birds were significantly more abundant on fields containing wild bird cover crops than on fields with conventional crops. A total of 25 species were recorded, with up to 80 times more birds seen in wild bird cover than in conventional crops. Over all month-crop combinations bird density was significantly higher on wild bird cover crops for all groups except finches in July. Bird density increased steadily over all months of the study on wild bird cover crops but remained relatively constant on conventional crops. Wild bird cover crops contained up to 90% more weed species and 280% more important bird-food weeds, than conventional crops. The wild bird cover crops were composed mainly of kale Brassica spp., quinoa Chenopodium quinoa and triticale Triticosecale spp. and were sown in strips (20 ? 650 m). A random sample of 4.9 ha of conventional crops was made on each farm.

 

Plant wild bird seed or cover mixture Farmland Conservation

A replicated, randomized, controlled study from June-September 2001-2002 of 21 cereal farms in eastern Scotland (Parish & Sotherton 2004b) found that farmland birds were significantly more abundant on fields containing wild bird cover crops than on fields with conventional crops. A total of 25 species were recorded, with up to 80 times more birds seen in wild bird cover than conventional crops. Over all month-crop combinations bird density was significantly higher on wild bird cover crops for all groups except finches in July. Bird density increased steadily over all months of the study on wild bird cover crops, but remained relatively constant on conventional crops. Wild bird cover crops contained up to 90% more weed species, and 280% more important bird-food weeds, than conventional crops. The wild bird cover crops were composed mainly of kale Brassica spp., quinoa Chenopodium quinoa and triticale Triticosecale spp. and were sown in 20 x 650 m strips. A random sample of 4.9 ha of conventional crops was made on each farm.